The CGE bargaining team is extremely happy to announce that we reached tenative agreement with the OSU administration today on a complete contract. Full agreement is contingent on ratification of the new contract by the CGE membership, which will take place in the coming weeks. This agreement came during the last session before the teams could have chosen to enter into mediation, and we see it as a major victory. Details of the agreement, which calls for a four year contract with a reopener of up to 6 articles after 2 years, are below.

  • The university will increase its contribution to grad employee-only health care from 75% to 85% during the 9-month academic year. In addition, the university will contribute 50% towards grad employee-only coverage during the summer for any grad who was employed for at least one term during the preceding academic year and is enrolled (though not necessarily employed) for the following fall term. Summer insurance will be through the same Pacific Source plan we have during the 9-month academic year, but it will be optional.
  • Additionally, though it was not achieved through negotiations and thus is not part of the new agreement, the university has increased the annual cap for health insurance to $250 thousand and the lifetime cap to $1 million. This is important for a few grads who, unfortunately, are approaching (or have already reached) the old caps of $100 thousand and $250 thousand.
  • The university will increase the once-per-term differential payment from $250 to $300.
  • Any grad appointed at a 1.0 FTE salary rate of less than $3164 will receive a 3% raise annually upon reappointment.
  • We got fair-share! This is what we were holding out for. Getting this is a monumental win for the union.
  • The administration agreed to language that would encourage departments to give appointments and work assignments in a timely manner. An approximation of the student fees a grad employee will have to pay, based on the previous year’s fees, will now have to be included with letters of appointment so grads are no longer blindsided by fees when they get to OSU.
  • All grad employees are contractually guaranteed work space and all of the equipment necessary to perform their jobs.
  • The union will have expanded rights, including more and better information from the university, university email access, and an expanded ability to orient incoming students to the union.
  • More stuff, which you’ll find out about as the ratification process begins.

Like I said before, we see this contract as a major victory for grad employees and for the union. Not only is this the best economic contract we’ve ever had, but winning fair-share is huge because it ensures the union’s future financial solvency, which in turn will allow us to make even bigger strides in future negotiations.

Thanks to all of you who supported us through this long and grueling process. Without your backing at negotiations and your participation in actions, letter writing, etc., we could not have achieved what we have achieved in this contract.

49 Thoughts on “We have tentative agreement!!”

  • Let me first say that I appreciate the benefits that CGE has negotiated over the years. As a first year, I can see from the history of the negotiations that being a grad student here would have been a very different financial experience without CGE involvement. I am quite happy to consider my first couple of years’ fairshare payments as compensation for for the free ride that students got on past CGE services (that benefit me today). Also, organizations take money to run and CGE should be supported through OSU student funding, not by sponging off the national organization.

    That being said, I, like others, am a little bit frustrated with how fairshare is being implemented. This really revolves around two issues:

    1. Transparency of the budget. In response to Noah’s post, you state that it is “obvious” that you can’t post your budget online but that doesn’t seem obvious to me at all. You can easily post a budget at a level that does not reveal specific salary detail. Financial statements should be available easily and quickly online.

    2. Representation. If I am now financially supporting the union, I should have a say in what the union does and how it functions. If you are worried about opening the organization to the unwashed masses, you can write a charter that protects fundamental issues (like fairshare) with supermajority votes. But making people pay for the union and not giving them a vote is, to use hyperbole, un-American and autocratic.

    Thank you for your service and continued efforts.

  • Noah: we obviously can’t post our budget online, but we are a transparent organization. Anyone who wants to see the budget is welcome to stop into the office and ask Liz or Dennis for a copy. In addition, CGE’s finances are audited every year by a committee of member-volunteers. In fact this year’s audit committee just recently finished their work and will write a report that will be presented at the next general membership meeting.

    CGE does have to pay for more than just fliers and staples, though. All of the CGE officers are grad students who volunteer our time to the union. However, Liz, or office manager, is a half-time employee whose salary we pay, and Dennis, or organizer, is a full time employee whose salary is currently paid in whole through a grant from AFT, or parent union (though, with fair-share in place, Dennis’s salary will be CGE’s responsibility). These two employees do the work that busy grad student volunteers can’t do and are necessary for the union’s function.

    CGE must also pay affiliation dues to our parent unions, AFT and AFT-OR. These pay for a number of things, the most important of which are services of Brett, an AFT-OR field representative who serves as our lead negotiator in bargaining with the OSU administration. These affiliation dues also fund other things, such as AFT and AFT-OR’s political-affairs staff who lobby on our behalf (to eliminate student fees, for example) in the national and state legislatures.

    Additional expenses CGE must pay include rent for office space, phone and internet bills, etc.

    With fair-share in place, CGE will cease to receive grants from our parent unions and will be solely responsible for all of these expenses. Like I said above, if you or anyone else is curious about CGE’s budget, please stop into the office and have a look.

  • Here is my two cents. My guess is that the thing that bothers people the most about fair-share is that the decision to pay is being taken out of their hands. Instead of encouraging students to join the union with real incentive (other than just a chance to vote) the union has simply forced us to join (I realize fair-share does not equal membership). For instance, if the union only bargained for union members then I bet nearly all of us would join in an instant.

    What I still don’t understand is where the money goes. Is the CGE budget online somewhere that we can access? Above people made it sound like the CGE team are volunteers, so if the money is not going to salaries then where is it going? Fliers and staples? Maybe people could swallow this more if they knew exactly where their money was going.

  • Thanks for holding out and doing a great job bargaining. The increase in help with health insurance is very important as is help with fees. Also great that we have fair-share now!!!

  • Rebecca: see one of my earlier comments for an example of how a grad employee making $1800 per term might fare under the fair-share agreement. The analysis is fairly accurate (though it doesn’t actually account for the fact that fair-share fees will be less than 2%), and it shows that, even after paying fair-share fees, you can still expect a financial gain from this contract.

    What I think is most important though is, as Jay suggests above, to judge fair-share by the impact it will have in the long term. If you consider together the economic gains that CGE has made over the years through collective bargaining (going from $0 to now $300 per term in fee relief, going from 0% to now 85% health care contribution during the academic year and 50% during the summer, establishing and raising the minimum salary, freezing departmental fees, etc.), the benefit of CGE’s representation becomes obvious. This is also not to mention the many non-economic gains CGE has made through bargaining to improve conditions for grad employees here at OSU. Without CGE’s representation, OSU simply would not treat its grads as well as it now does. If you’ve seen how difficult negotiations are and how hard fought each of these gains is, this will be obvious to you.

    Fair-share will provide a way for CGE to fund its future representation of OSU’s grad employees without relying on the tens of thousands of dollars in grants it has received annually from its parent organization and which it could not have relied on much longer. In other words, fair-share will make CGE financially self-sufficient, guaranteeing its ability to negotiate more fee relief, better health care, higher salaries, and better overall conditions of employment for OSU’s grads in the future. I understand that it may be difficult to accept having to pay now for something you didn’t have to pay for before, but in the long run, what you pay now will be returned through the gains CGE makes in future negotiations.

  • Thanks, Rob.

    From what I’m reading, most of us are frustrated because it looks like we’re LOSING money in this deal from our salary, which is already limited. Can you give us the numbers to show us what we’re GAINING?


  • I just wanted to comment on the fact that CGE didn’t get more fee relief since that was the priority of the students. This was not done to slight you! If you have attended any of the bargaining sessions you know that the measly $50 more a quarter is representative not of the union failing you, but the administration. This is a perfect example of why the union needs to ensure its existence through fair share. We call this a “monumental” win because of the little bit the administration is willing to give, we got a decent amount. Believe me, we would not be getting these benefits out of the goodness of their hearts.
    Also, this contract was agreed upon on the last day of bargaining, after that day negotiations go to mediation and in the end, they can simply refuse our demands. I completely understand the objections to fair share, but this is not an extraordinary request since most schools with unions already have fair share. I’m glad that some of you are well-off enough to refuse the benefits or risk losing the representation that come with the union, but I simply cannot afford it and I think that many would agree.
    If the union did not exist, we would continue to fall behind our peer institutions. Every year, fees and inflation go up and if it was solely up to the administration, our benefits and salaries would not.

  • Rebecca: your offer letter should tell you whether or not you’re in the BU. Also, see the general FAQ ( for more info on how BU status is usually determined.

    Josh: assuming that the contract is ratified, the 3% raises will be effective retroactive to Oct. 1, 2008.

  • I too am disappointed that some members and other graduate students seem only to focus on fairshare here. I encourage everyone to not simply view the contract and union with such narrow range. Think pragmatically and long-term. Please base your evaluations of this contract, the union, and its selfless volunteers on more than just one issue and your immediate reactions/realizations of the contract. I realize that we are transient employees here (i.e., generally 2-5 year duration), so it is easy to forget all the hard won improvements the union has delivered to the graduate students in the past 9 years – healthcare, substantial fee relief, pay raises, and worker rights to name a few. These did not exist before the CGE union. And generally do not exist at other peer university’s that do not have organized labor representing them.

    Regarding fairshare: So now we have earned the chance to make this union a sustainable and much more relevant organization on this campus via fairshare; both of which will bolster grads abilities to fight even harder for current and future grad employees. This fact is why management has always been opposed to fairshare. Without fairshare they know the union will simply not be stable into the future and therefore nor will all the benefits it has had to deliver to the grads. It is also my understanding that all other OUS employee unions have fairshare in place and that we are the outlier for not having it.

    I’ll pony up my fairshare if it means guaranteeing that we keep our benefits and rights intact while I am here and for future generations of OSU grads. The last thing I want to see is that I left behind a legacy of decisions that will undermine the the quality of OSU grads and therefore the quality and value of my OSU diploma.

  • So as I understand it, those of us who are not members can still fight the “fair share” agreement if we get a petition equal to 30% of the graduate students. I would be more than willing to help with the petition if someone wants to spearhead it.

  • I am unhappy that I am being forced to pay for the union. I am against unions in principal because I see unions as first and foremost around to preserve themselves. This is certainly upheld, again in my experience, by this “fair share” that the union “won”! If there is a way for me to opt out of these great “new benefits” tell me where to sign!

  • I am disappointed to see that some members are not happy with what the union has accomplished for them. The union is a very far cry from a secret organization trying to steal your meager salary behind your back. They are simply a hard-working group of students that have worked their tails off to make life easier for us and keep the administration accountable. With much of it’s funding in jeopardy, fair share is a way to ensure that the union doesn’t do what the administration would just love- disappear. Thanks for all the work you do.

  • BTW…things are so great I already am on OHP. So guess what? I don’t need health insurance….it is already paid for. FYI for grad students with children, check out state services…you may be eligible, especially after losing 2% of your salary. That comes up to $450 a year for me. Like I said…when you have a child, your priorities change. May you never have others making choices for you.

  • Elaborating a little:

    This seems like a win for the union, not the graduate students. If you’d come through with a significant fee reduction (which was the first priority right?), or some other impressive win for the students, it would be an easier pill to swallow. As it is we’re sort of pitched “We fought for ourselves this year, so we can fight for you (with your money) in the future” which isn’t palatable.

  • Ok, so I’m a little peeved. At 2%, my union dues will be $48/month $576/yr. In exchange I’m getting an extra $50 three times a year and a slightly reduced health care premium. I’m pretty sure I lose on this deal. I have no doubt you’ll get your way, but at least allow me to vent on your website.

    Fair share benefits the union and the university at the expense of the graduate students. The union gets boatloads of money and it doesn’t cost the university anything to give it to you, as the money is coming out of grad salaries and the grants or contracts that fund them. And I still pay $950 in fees every term.

  • Thanks for your efforts in representing grad students at OSU. Does the 3% salary increase apply to the 2008-2009 academic year? I’m not sure about other grad students, but cost-of-living wage increases are more important to me than improving health insurance that I rarely use. Also, the fair-share FAQ is unclear to me. Does it now cost a student the same to participate in fair-share vs becoming a CGE member? It seems that both cost 2% of total salary.

  • I am located at HMSC in Newport. I transferred in w/ all my required classwork so I never had to spend time on campus. Yet, I pay roughly 10% of my yearly stipend in fees that I do not have access to (don’t believe me…let me show you my billing statements). Now you want to take 2% more? You claim that the benefits outweigh the costs…wanna bet? So the raise I just negotiated with my advisor is now essentially history. I want to say thank you from my seven year old child who just lost the benefits 2% of my salary could have provided him.

  • I appreciate the improvements, summer healthcare, increased payout by the university, WARNING grad students about the fees ahead of time (I was definitely a victim of that), and the slight pay increase.

    I’m not a member of the union because I can’t afford the $30/mo. dues, so how does the 2% they take out for fair share help me? It takes away what I was already choosing not to spend in the first place.

    How do I know if I’m part of the bargaining unit or not? That is, how do I know if I’m going to have to pay?

  • Rob Hess says:

    August 20th, 2008 at 8:55 pm
    “Matt: We will answer some of your remaining questions, especially, e.g., regarding budgeting and income from fair-share, in the coming fair-share FAQ, as I said above.

    I just want to stress one thing, though, before that FAQ comes up: the benefit of fair-share does not go to CGE. CGE’s sole function is to represent and negotiate for OSU’s grad employees, and essentially every cent of CGE’s money goes towards that function. Thus, really, it is those grad employees who benefit from fair-share because it guarantees that CGE will exist long into the future to continue to represent and negotiate for them.”

    Personally, I’m still waiting for satisfactory answers to my questions. All that I have heard so far have been nebulous comments about the activities of CGE being not nearly covered by current membership fees, but nothing about why it costs so much in the first place to have CGE in operation, or specifically what facets of CGE are most costly. In fact, once again, all that is contained in the statement above is an opinion – that fair share and the CGE (at present or increased operational levels) are necessarily the best possible solution for grad student financial issues. This may or may not be the case, regardless, it is up to each of us to decide whether we think it is. I believe that is the whole point of ratification by majority vote. Further, in a transparent, democratic group, one should expect the easy availability of this information (or a reasonably informative facsimile) so that when voting on related matters one can make informed and logical decisions rather than relying on political rhetoric.

    I am also still astounded by the exclusion from the ratification process of bargaining unit members who are not CGE members. How is it fair to exclude over half of the bargaining unit from voting, or require them to pay what amounts to a voting fee of ca. $25 (the cost of a month of union membership), even though it is precisely these people that will be funding a great portion of CGE activity over the next 2 or 4 years if fair share is ratified? Are non-CGE members even aware that in order to vote they need to pay their voting fee by September 15th? And what of the incoming grad student class? How many of them will have any idea that they need to sign on in order to have any say in how 2% of their salary might be spent? How many of them will even be in town and coherent by September 15th, a full two weeks prior to the start of classes?

    To me, these issues make CGE seem a lot less ‘in solidarity’ and a lot more ‘in secrecy’. But then again, that’s just my opinion…

  • Just wanted to throw my two cents in…

    Starting in the fall, I’ll be leaving the bargaining unit, and will therefore not be affected by the ratification of fair share. However, as I am quickly learning, the benefits to being part of the bargaining unit and paying one’s fair share far outweigh the costs. For example, I’ve recently started searching for my own individual health insurance. Plans similar to the one I currently have through the university aren’t even offered because the premiums would be on the order of $800/month – an absolutely ridiculous sum to expect of a graduate student. Instead, I’m forced to take a plan with a lower premium and hope that I won’t get seriously injured while I’m on it. So to those who question the equity of fair share, consider that there are those of us who wish we could take part, even if it meant having to pay our fair share.

    Thanks to those who put in the hard work to make this happen! I look forward to becoming a full member when my graduate appointment is renewed.

  • Matt: We will answer some of your remaining questions, especially, e.g., regarding budgeting and income from fair-share, in the coming fair-share FAQ, as I said above.

    I just want to stress one thing, though, before that FAQ comes up: the benefit of fair-share does not go to CGE. CGE’s sole function is to represent and negotiate for OSU’s grad employees, and essentially every cent of CGE’s money goes towards that function. Thus, really, it is those grad employees who benefit from fair-share because it guarantees that CGE will exist long into the future to continue to represent and negotiate for them.

  • I would like to offer a clarification after a personal communication with Rob Hess (thanks Rob, for your response). I was previously not aware that, of the ~4000 OSU grad students, only around 700 are part of the bargaining unit and, thus, affected by fair share if it is ratified. As a consequence, this means that CGE would stand to have around $160,000 income from fair share / membership fees from a nine month term. This is certainly a lot less than the figures I was estimating earlier – my apology. However, I still feel that, over a nine-month term:

    1) this is a very hefty sum of money (is this amount necessary for a grad student union?),
    2) CGE stands to gain a benefit per bargaining unit student much greater than the benefit of the student (possibly greater than 20x), and
    3) the fair share or membership fees represent an unnecessarily high amount of money for a grad student to pay.

    This is all in addition to the fact that this is a motion that, to my understanding, will potentially be ratified by a small proportion of the bargaining unit, rather than the entirety of the students that will be affected by it.

    I do think that what CGE has accomplished thus far in bargaining is great, and I laud them for their hard work and long hours. I also recognize the importance and benefit of grad students having a unified voice in bargaining with the administration. However, on this issue, I think it is essential to be both democratic and reasonable. Shouldn’t everyone that would be affected by fair share have the chance to vote on its ratification? How much income does CGE really need in order to function effectively? I look forward to having these and other questions discussed and answered in the coming days/weeks.

  • Thanks to everyone for your comments regarding fair-share and the new contract. A number of you have made it clear that there is a great deal of confusion regarding fair-share. In light of this, we are in the process of compiling an extensive FAQ on fair-share which will be posted within a few days. I’ll put up a link here when it’s up, so keep watching this space.

  • If permitted, I would like to voice an opinion on the recent “monumental” win achieved by the CGE bargaining team concerning fair share and the overall contract. According to CGE calculations, the results of this agreement will yield a net increase in my salary of $15 next year (I chose not to buy insurance during the summer months). While I will admit that the only economics course I attended was many years ago, I fail to see how a $1.67 per month raise constitutes a monumental win.

    Addressing fair share directly: This new contract will automatically deduct 2% of my salary directly in to the coffers of the CGE union. As a non-union member, I have never once been consulted or asked my opinion concerning the addition of this newly created tax. As I recall from elementary history classes “taxation without representation” is the hallmark of despots and kings, not a union purporting to represent the good of the workers.

    As a free thinking adult, I prefer to choose who represents my interests. While the leadership of the union may think and believe they know what is best for me, I beg to differ. As I chose not to respect the self righteous attitude of religious fundamentalists, I now am forced to extend that thinking to the CGE union. I learned long ago that anyone claiming superior intellect, divine aspiration or simply saying “I know what’s good for you” should never be trusted and certainly not feed monetarily.

    To add insult to injury, the new 2% fair share tax does not include union membership. In order to become a union member an already, and now further, cash strapped student must pay additional union dues. Fair share, by itself, will not increase union membership by one student. I actually suspect the addition of this tax and the resentment it has and will continue to cause may result in distrust and decreased union membership.

    I find it particularly amusing that the union claims we should follow the U of O’s example concerning fair share. How exactly has fair share benefitted students at the U of O? Can you prove that the U of O’s better contract is the direct result of fair share? As most of us were told as children by our mothers “If everybody jumped off a cliff, would you jump off too?”

    According to my calculations, the fair share tax will result in a $160,000 yearly windfall for the union. Might I ask what the leadership of the union intends to do with lucrative pot of cash?

    Lastly, and perhaps most disturbingly, it has come to my attention that several responses, posted to the CGE web page, critical of fair share have been deleted or simply never posted at all. Has the union stooped so low as to employ the tactic of censorship?

    In summery, the principles espoused by the union, in light of the fair share tax are: greed, self-righteousness, short sightedness and censorship. Forgive me if I chose not strike a call for solidarity of these values.

  • This new agreement represents another milestone in improving the quality and reputation of OSU’s graduate program. My research group has frequently failed to recruit the top candidates because other grad programs offer better benefits and pay. I can now tell recruits that the level of benefits is continually improving and that they will have strong and stable representation via CGE.

    Aside from the immediate benefits that graduate employees will receive as a result of this contract, CGE’s efforts are ensuring that OSU can recruit and retain the best grad candidates out there, which in turn guarantees that our degrees will be respected and desired throughout academia and the work place.

    As a member of CGE, this is a legacy I am honored to be a part of.

  • Outstanding work bargaining team and supporters! I’d like to add a little perspective here from someone who has been a grad student here for, well, almost too long. When I received my first GTA appointment in 2002, I joined a very young and weak union. As a GTA I received no health benefits, no quarterly bonus differential and, in fact, I’m rather certain I never signed a contract assuring my position!

    Two years later in 2004 that all changed for the better thanks to the CGE’s negotiations. At the time, I felt like my two years of membership dues had more than paid for themselves. The union had successfully bargained with the university by leveraging with something on the order of 150 members. Wow, I thought, imagine if we had stronger membership? I recall one of the research-based pieces CGE compiled comparing all the Pac-10 schools benefits for GTAs, and OSU came up an indisputable last place. I don’t know where we stand now after two more steps forward since then in negotiations, but I’m doubtful that we’re toward the top in terms of salaries, benefits, and assurances simply because our union hasn’t existed that long and we haven’t had fair-share which strengthens our negotiating position.

    Nevertheless, I feel very good about the progress I’ve seen over the last six years. I have never doubted that CGE has represented me and my interests. It’s true that some issues the union has sometimes focused on issues that were of lower priority to me (for example, ensuring a minimal salary raise), but I’ve always recognized that our strength is in numbers and solidarity and addressing these issues helps everyone in the long run. To John and anyone else who questions the progress reported here, I ask, would you prefer to be where we were six years ago with no insurance benefits, no summer insurance benefits, no differential bonus, no guaranteed minimal salary, and no individual contract?

    Let me be among the first to ratify the new contract!

  • Thank you. It is hard work to do what the whole team did and we ALL benefit as a result. Oregon has many medically indigent citizens who have jobs. I am grateful to not be one of them.

  • I have to agree in this case with John. It seems to me that if CGE is truly representative of the grad students, every grad student, not just CGE members, should have a voice in the ratification of fair share. Rob, I think what you are proposing in asking non-members to pay CGE to have a voice in this matter is pretty akin to a shakedown, and unfairly stacks the deck in favor of a win for fair share. I would look at the current situation in this manner: 1) current CGE members are much more likely to vote for fair share than non-CGE members (no-brainer), 2) what proportion of all grad students does the current membership of CGE represent – a great minority is my guess. How then is the ratification of something that will affect all grad students, done by a minority of grad students with opinions quite likely not representative of all the rest, fair to the entire grad student population?

    Further, there was a poll circulated prior to the bargaining sessions asking grad students what their top three priorities/gains are for the current bargaining year. Was fair share on that poll? I don’t recall that it was (I could be wrong, though). Regardless, it was not in the top three consensus choices. I believe increased fee relief, increased health care coverage, and a third option were the top three. It was a good job of bargaining to get the top choices accomplished. But I am curious as to why, now, is fair share suddenly the most important gain for ‘us’?

    Last, I also find it a little troublesome that in Rob’s example above, the grad student on $1800/month salary pays $36/month in CGE fees. While, as Rob states, this seems to have benefitted the student by saving the student $15/academic year (assuming they don’t take summer health insurance), CGE has benefitted to the amount of $324 over the nine month academic period. So, in essence, by being a CGE member, the grad student has benefitted less than 1/20th of the that which CGE has made by having him/her as a member. This seems very unbalanced to me.

  • Congrats all!

    Having attended a few bargaining sessions, I know that getting any agreement is outstanding. Getting one this good is mind blowing. I am in awe and will worship at your feet at the next available opportunity.

  • I join the others in congratulating the bargaining team on attaining so many worthy goals. I applaud them even though I do not utilize the grad employee health insurance so won’t benefit as much as many others. But I also have questions about how Fair-Share is supposed to work. It isn’t simply a matter of whether the gains cover much of what individual graduate students have to pay. It’s also a matter of the total amount thus raised, whether that much is necessary, and how it is allocated and spent.

    Matt (see above post) came up with a pretty gigantic figure. Let’s look at it extremely conservatively: Let’s say 4000 grad students work just the minimum required for tuition remission, 0.20 FTE, which means a salary of about $720 a month. At 2% union dues, that makes the monthly dues of $57,600, or a 9-month figure of $518,400. Still a hefty sum, no matter how you look at it.

    It would seem to me that before determining the percentage of salary to go to union dues, there should be a membership-approved union budget. Dues should then be calculated to meet that budget, with enough of a cushion to cover unanticipated expenditures.

    Like Matt, it has always been my understanding that dues would go down considerably once Fair-Share is in place. So how does this all work? How is the percentage determined?

  • So now Matt and the rest of us have to pay more than $30 per month? Do we have to pay $36 per month?

    The fees at the Civil Dept in OSU is almost $1000 BUT at UO the cap is $150 right?

    So could you investigate into this matter to see if this is actually true?

    Bacause if it is … Then OSU grads are really paying a lot! … The way I see it I get monthly salary of $1250 cutting insurance .. and in 3 months it totals to $3750 and then the special term fees comes to $1000 so I end up getting only $2750. And I have not yet excluded the monthly fees that is being automatically deducted from CGE !

    So HOWCOME no one bargained earlier to REDUCE this term fees of approximately $1000 ?

    (Anyways… Really Good Job on the insurance and the increase in our monthly salary… Thank You).

  • John:

    “So I’m required to pay money to the union in order to have any say in whether I’m required to pay money to the union?”

    Your comment seems to suggest that your real issue here is having to open your wallet to pay for something that you previously had the option to neglect. I can’t sympathize with that sentiment.

    Like I said before, the financial gains made through these negotiations will more than pay for the fair-share fee you will have to pay. Specifically, as a result of these negotiations, you will receive $50 extra per term, or $ 16.67 per month, in the fee differential; about $21 extra per month for health insurance during the academic year (with premiums at $210 per month, which will be the approximate cost next year); and about $105 extra per month for health insurance during the summer months. In total, that amounts to about $654 extra per year.

    In contrast, a good, substantial grad employee salary is about $1800 per month at 0.49 FTE. If the fair-share fee is the same as membership dues at 2% of your monthly salary, then someone making $1800 per month will have to pay $36 per month towards fair-share. Over the 9-month academic year, that works out to a total of $324. Thus, someone making $1800 per month will receive a net financial gain of about $330 per year. Even if that grad opted not to take summer health care, he or she would still receive a net financial gain of about $15 per year. Grad employees making less than $1800 per month will see an even greater net financial gain as their fair-share fee will decrease while the extra income remains constant.

    All this is not to mention the fact that CGE won the other 75% employer contribution to health care (about $157.50 per month, or $1417.50 per year) and the first $250 of the once-per-term fee differential ($750 per year) in past negotiations. Taken all together, this adds up to a pretty substantial return on a $36-per-month investment in CGE. Moreover, it doesn’t even take into account the many other non-economic rights CGE has won through bargaining or the representation CGE provides daily for grad employees.

  • “Keep in mind that CGE is a democratic, member-run organization. If you are unhappy with the tentative new contract or with the direction we are headed as an organization, you are free to join the union, vote against ratification, and work to change our direction.”

    So I’m required to pay money to the union in order to have any say in whether I’m required to pay money to the union?

  • I’d also like to add my thanks to our outstanding bargaining team! Having attended several sessions, I know you put up with a lot and I’m so proud that you did not back down in the face of opposition and lack of cooperation from the other bargaining team in many of your information requests. I am so glad to know that the union’s future is secure so it can continue to represent all of us graduate students.

  • I’m glad to hear that CGE and the University finally were able to reach an agreement, and that the agreement sounds like an improvement over current conditions for grad students. Concerning fair share, however, I have serious reservations. Currently I pay ~$30/month to be a member of the union, which is a considerable amount of money, particularly for a grad student. I would assume that with fair share, this monthly fee should GREATLY decrease, and I will be extremely disappointed in the union if it does not. There are roughly 4000 grad students at OSU. If each of those pays an average of $25 a month through fair share (accurate estimate?), this would represent $100,000 per month for CGE, or $1.2 million per year (or $900,000 for a nine month academic year). If this is reasonably accurate, for what in the world does CGE need this type of money?(!)

  • The summer health-care (50% is better than nothing) agreement was the most important thing in my mind. Thanks for sticking to your guns.

  • Thank you and congratulations to the CGE bargaining team! As a member I am very glad for the many hours each of you have contributed to this process. Thanks to your hard work and dedication, graduate students at OSU will be better compensated and OSU itself will be more attractive to prospective students.

  • Adding my thanks to the bargaining team for their many hours of hard work. Fair-share wasn’t my first personal priority, but I think it opens up a lot of opportunities for bargaining in the future, and ensures that there will be a union to negotiate further in two and four years.

    The union IS the students, and after attending several sessions it is clear that the administration bargaining team only made concessions when the other side explicitly held them accountable for their responsibilities to the graduate student community.

  • Congratulations folks! Big thanks to the bargaining team! The amount of time and effort you folks put into negotiations is staggering.

  • Thanks for all your hard work bargaining team! It is great to have fair-share. And, by the way, nice reponse Rob; fair-share is a benefit for all graduate students.

  • Congrats to the whole bargaining team! Way to hold the line! Increased fee differential, fair share, and a SUMMER HEALTH CARE OPTION! This is huge! Your efforts will make a huge difference for both the Graduate Students at OSU and will help propel OSU forward!

    Best from EXSS!


  • Way to go bargaining team! I am glad a tentative agreement has been reached, glad to see we got fair share. I am also glad that long process is over with, and look forward to ratifying the contract.


  • John: The financial gains we made in this contract will more than cover the fair-share fee you will have to pay.

    The reason we are so excited about fair-share is that it will allow us to focus our energy and resources completely on representation and negotiations instead of on fundraising and organizing. In other words, fair-share is a monumental win for the union because it will allow us to better serve the grad employees we represent. If you want to see an example of what fair-share can help a union achieve for its employees, take a look at the contract just signed by the GTFF, UO’s grad employee union, at . They have had fair-share for more than 20 years.

    I’m sorry it is against your wishes that we negotiate on your behalf, especially considering the gains we’ve made through negotiations over the years (health care, the fee differential, etc.). Keep in mind that CGE is a democratic, member-run organization. If you are unhappy with the tentative new contract or with the direction we are headed as an organization, you are free to join the union, vote against ratification, and work to change our direction.

  • So it’s not enough that get the union negotiating on my behalf regardless of my wishes, but now I’m going to be required to pay involuntarily for that honor as well? I find it interesting that the element the post is most excited about is something that’s “a monumental win for the union”, rather than the elements that center around the students the union is supposed to represent.

  • A huge shout out to the CGE Council , your bargaining team, and to all the members of your local for winning fair share recognition from the college. It was high time and is a historic victory and milestone for your local.

    In Solidarity,
    Mark Schwebke
    President, AFT-Oregon

  • Great work by the bargaining team and all the members who actively supported the team! Hearing the news really made me wish I had been there to be part of the negotiation process. Congratulations to all involved!

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